That sigh you hear is from a punter.
As Judy Durham reminded us some time ago, the Carnival is Over.
Group races are a distant memory. We are in what is known as the Quiet Time. That agonising gap between Brisbane’s winter carnival and the Spring.
The carnival here actually stretches a few extra weeks, with great fun at the Ipswich and Caloundra Cups. Not quite Flemington, but right up there in the Good Times Stakes.
Trainers and jockeys book holidays. A week or two in the sun somewhere, away from those chilly pre-dawn mornings. Can’t blame them really.
Don’t be fooled by the sunshine this morning. It’s winter, where the days are short and the tracks are wet. Those who can be bothered to go to the course arrive late and leave early.
It’s not hard to find a table. Service at the bar is a breeze. You might be there on your own.
The beauty of racing most weeks is that there’s a highlight, somewhere in our great damp land. You’ll usually find a Group race or two. Your home town will have a decent program, and then you can unload on the feature.
Have you looked at the form guide today? It’s slim pickings.
The highlight, as far as I can see, is the listed Queensland Cup. Two miles, which is a rarity in Brisbane these days.
Sure, it’s worth a bit of cash, but the field won’t be included in a Calcutta anytime soon. A few might need a lift to complete the final furlong.
Melbourne has a host of Series Finals. I have no idea what that means. Possibly an excuse to use a fancy title, to make it look as though it’s a big day. Trust me, it’s not.
In Sydney, they’ll plough through the mud yet again. The shorter jockeys are being given the option of carrying snorkels.
The pick of the day might be in the Golden West. The listed Belmont Oaks at least looks a bit competitive. And I bet the sun will be shining.
The crazy thing, for all the doom and gloom I’ve documented above, is that we’ll still be in action today. As mediocre as things might be, there has to be a winner in every race.
Back a few of them, and Saturday will rival Flemington in November. That’s the thing with punters. We’re a fickle lot. There’s nothing like a collect or two to brighten up the most depressing day. Today, make that three wins.